Aspiring Biodiversity Trust appoints patron Lydia Bradey

From left to right: Lydia Bradey, Anthony Coote and Dean Staples in the Crucible Basin | Perry Brooks

The Aspiring Biodiversity Trust (ABT) is delighted to announce the appointment of Lydia Bradey, international mountain and ski guide, mountaineer and physiotherapist as patron.

 ABT chair and co-founding trustee, Anthony Coote, said: "We knew the right person would naturally come along for the patron role, when the time was right. Lydia is certainly the right fit for ABT and our aspiration to protect and restore indigenous biodiversity and connect people with nature.”

 Bradey recently participated in ABT's alpine and upper river predator control programme (in this case trapping stoats and rats) for protection of threatened species in the Makarora catchment.  She was with her partner Dean Staples, who was on secondment from Adventure Consultants for this programme.

Lydia was inspired by the objectives of the Aspiring Biodiversity Trust as they align with her passion for the environment. She was keen to take the opportunity to support the trust, “having spent many years benefiting from our wild places both physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially.”

 “Siberia in New Zealand is a stunning valley of bush and braided river surrounded by 2000m mountains, and remarkable cliffs. The jewel in the crown is Lake Crucible, at 1172m under a cirque of cliffs, Mt Alba directly above. We followed and checked traps up to Crucible finding four stoats and some mice (more stoats on other traps lines). Maybe each stoat we catch ensures a Rock Wren might live a day, month, year, a life longer? The sun stayed away from our feet and faces that day we were so deep in the valley, but our hearts soared in this beautiful place,” said Bradey.

 From the Aspiring Biodiversity Trust's predator control programme which Bradey participated in, autumn 2020 data shows an alarming increase in stoat activity amongst monitored rock wren territories, in two separate alpine basins in the Wilkin and Siberia valleys. The timing of the increased stoat activity is provided by Encounter Solutions' celium system of remote predator control trap monitoring set up in the Castalia and Crucible basins

 In the Castalia basin, where there had been no stoats killed in predator control traps all summer, 50 per cent of the traps were triggered (killing stoats as verified by later trap servicing) in a relatively short time-frame: between February 26 and April 28. The traps would normally be cleared when 30 per cent were triggered freeing traps for further stoat killing; however, frustratingly, trap clearance could not take place until after Level 3 lockdown.

The Aspiring Biodiversity Trust would like to acknowledge Otago Regional Council for the continued support of the Makarora Catchment Threatened Species Project From Ridge To River, through an additional $3,000 via the ORC EcoFund.

Read edition 977 of the Wānaka Sun here.

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